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North Fork Kings Tour - Day One

DAY ONE began early - 3AM to be precise - when a frog landed in my ear. While such things can happen when one uses a rainfly without the tent, I would think it quite rare, and it's a very surprising thing to find in one's ear at any time. It sure felt like a frog when I moved it out of my ear, and my headlamp confirmed the suspicion. At least I was sleeping on my side, since he could easily have choked me otherwise! Other than that surprise, and the off/on rain showers, I slept fairly well. We awoke and dined early, then departed for the trailhead in a fog - really! When we finally found the road over Wishon Dam, we were unable to see the far side of the reservoir, which is unsettling on a one-lane road. We could barely even see the water in the reservoir itself. We finally made it across, up the paved and unpaved road, and reached the trailhead. We saw no sign of Dan, but for the first few days we held out hope that he would catch up to us (as our route changed, our comments mutated into variations of "Dan must be getting mad since we're not where we agreed to be!").

It began to rain again as we made our final preparations, so rain gear was added to the mix - ponchos for Del and Frank, a parka and hat for me (packed at the last minute after checking the extended forecast), and a red umbrella for Bill. Soon we were off, trudging uphill through thick manzanita shrubs that hid our feet and whipped our shins. Frank's gaiters were a clear winner on this stretch, which ended at the two-mile mark. Here we met a trio coming out, ending their long trip under several days of rain. We plodded onward to the junction by Finger Rock, and rested at a meadow that provided us with a nice view of the granite spike. Two day-riders on horses pulled in, conversed with us a moment, then turned around, and we soon moved onward. Bill suggested a route change, so we turned left toward the Woodchuck Trail instead of aiming for Chuck Pass. Two more hikers drifted by with large packs: their plans had changed after two days of stormy weather, and they wished us better luck than theirs. The day dragged on with more showers and perpetual clouds, and when we reached the Chimney Lake junction it was clear that we'd be stopping very soon. We reached the lake and found a nice camp, complete with a large fire ring and even a horse-camp toilet a few minutes away. I wish I could remember more about this first evening, but clearly I was exhausted...
the fearsome foursome?

Dreary, pretty Chimney Lake

pre-hike - day One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Nine - Summary

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